In my book 23 Minutes in Hell, I wrote that I could see through the flames, and witnessed the people burning in Hell. How could I see if the Bible describes Hell as, “the blackness of darkness forever?” (Jude 13; 2 Peter 2:17).
First, there are two hells and two locations. These verses may refer to the time when death and hell are cast into the lake of fire and into outer darkness. (See Revelation 20:14; Matthew 25:30.) This will be the future hell, known as Gehenna or the lake of fire, and this will happen after Judgment Day.
Currently, the hell we are talking about is Sheol or Hades and is not the outer darkness of the future hell. However, I believe as Scripture states that hades is also a place of darkness in the center of the earth. But is it complete darkness?
I could first see in the prison cell only because God illuminated it for me. He then withdrew His attribute of light and it resumed its normal state of pitch-black darkness. After the prison cell, I was placed over next to the large pit of fire. I could only see dimly through the flames and along the edges of the pit. The light did not spread as it would here on the earth. A pit a mile across with that much fire would have produced a lot of light here on the earth’s surface. However, the darkness in hell seemed to overpower the light and consume it, as if it swallowed it up. The darkness was so very heavy and thick that one could feel it, as Exodus 10:21 describes.
Remember that in Luke 16:23 the rich man lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham and Lazarus “afar off” across a “great gulf fixed.” How could he see them if it is total darkness?
One reason I could see is because the fire in hell it a literal burning fire, as the Bible says it is. I won’t take the time to prove that here since I’ve have multiple teachings avaiaalbe on that subject.
The future hell Gehenna, known as the lake of fire, will most likely be in total darkness. The scriptures, whenever referencing the future hell, usually mention darkness forever (Jude 13; 2 Peter 2:17).
In Matthew 25:41 Jesus said, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:” Notice it say’s, “everlasting fire, prepared.” So not just hell is prepared, but the fire also. The future hell will most likely have a fire that is prepared to have no aspect of light. The reason for this is 1 John 1:5 says, God is light. Hell is a place prepared where the attributes of God are removed so there would be no light.
The current hell does not use the word, “forever” when mentioning the darkness. Also, the current hell is not the hell Jesus said was prepared. Jesus was referring to Gehenna which is the future hell. The fire in the current hell may not have been prepared. It is simply a fire like we have on this earth, which would produce light.
John Wesley said, “In the dreary regions of the dead…there is…no light but that of livid flames.” – 23 Minutes in Hell, page 121.
In Essential Works of John Wesley, page 761 he also said, “Indeed, if there is any fire, it is unquestionably material.
Charles Spurgeon said, There is a real fire in hell, as truly as you now have a real body; a fire exactly like that which we have on the earth. – Hell Under Fire, page 28.
There are two verses, Job 10:21-22 that just possibly might have an explanation for this strange phenomenon in the current hell.
In verse 21 he mentions a land of darkness that man will go to. Verse 22 says, “A land of darkness, as darkness itself…and where the light is as darkness.” The phrase “as Darkness” could mean that the small amount of light in Sheol is so weak that it is “as darkness.” This would be similar to a small night-light illuminating only a corner of a room in a house.
Many of the commentaries do not associate those verses in Job with hell, but most are vague about its meaning and state that it has to do with the grave. The grave is not actually a land of darkness, since the person in the grave would be unaware of darkness, since they are not in the grave. I believe the verses are referring to Sheol, the place of the departed spirits.
According to Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, “Job in a better frame has brighter thoughts of the unseen world.” This commentary mentions the unseen world, which indicates it is Sheol, and not just the grave.
Other verses that may give us a hint:
Isaiah 14:16, “Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms.” This is referring to those who see Satan (and the king of Babylon) in hell. Notice, the verse does say, “Those who see you.” How could they see if it was completely dark?
Another verse Isaiah 14:9-10 which says, “Hell from beneath is moved to meet thee at thy coming…All they shall speak and say unto thee, art thou also become weak as we?” It says that they will “meet thee,” and they notice that they are weak like themselves. Can they meet them and notice weakness if they can’t see them? Probably not. This may only be a hint.
Ezekiel 32:18-31 says, “he is put in the midst of them (vs. 25)…her graves are round about him.” How would they know they are in the midst, and the others are around them? This may also only be a hint of a possibility of seeing. There is no way to know for certain.
Fully explaining why I could see in hell is not important. What’s important is to know that hell is a real geographical location down deep in the earth where millions who used to live on earth now exist.
It is a place of utter darkness, torment, abandonment, isolation, full of demons, and continually burning. It is an everlasting place of absolute hopelessness for those who do not choose to repent and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
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By Bill Wiese, author of 23 Minutes in Hell